“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8)
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Pet. 4:7-8, emphasis mine) …“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10, emphasis mine) ….”Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (1 Thess. 4:9, emphasis mine) …”Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,” (1 Pet. 1:22, emphasis mine) …”No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12, emphasis mine).
“…And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:11-16, emphasis mine).
These two subjects, “TRUTH and LOVE” are ESSENTIAL to the Christian faith. If you are missing or neglecting either one of these, you are not living the Christian life. Because you are missing…JESUS, Who is both truth and love. You are not living by the Holy Spirit if you are missing either one of these. What sets the child of God apart? It is that they carry within themselves something which cannot be created by humanity alone. It is the Spirit of Truth who bears witness to the love of God through Jesus Christ in us.
We may be different from one another. We may have different upbringing and backgrounds from one another. We may be Jews, or Greeks, slaves, or free, male, or female…but we are all ONE in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). Do you know how many of the apostle Paul’s letters in the New Testament dealt with the division that was going on between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians? ALOT. We are NOTHING apart from the grace of God in Christ. We are all wretched, proud, arrogant, evil, and capable of horrible things, every one of us…. BUT THE GRACE OF GOD broke in! This is the truth of the human nature outside of the transforming work of the grace of God.
So, the only thing which makes us unique from the rest of the world is the truth and love of Jesus Christ poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Now, regarding “truth” it is essential for our unity as believers that we are grounded upon and united by the truth. God’s Word is truth, yes? So, we must agree to stand on that foundation to be unified. Therefore, “IF IT IS NOT EXPRESSLY DEALT WITH IN THE WORD OF GOD… THEN LET IT GO!!!” Because the apostles all recognized that “correct doctrine” was essential to the Christian faith, okay. Next, regarding “love”. Since God is love and since we are called “children of God” we MUST extend love to one another, otherwise we “grieve” the Holy Spirit in us. What does love look like? It looks like, patience, mercy, forgiveness, humility, graciousness, trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, etc… NOW, we all may have strong “opinions” and feelings about various things. Our opinions and feelings do matter. But if they are not “TRUTH” issues, from the Word of God. In other words, if the Word of God does not make it clear then we must “allow” one another to live according to the faith God has given us. At times, my brothers, and sisters, and I disagree, but I can still love them and try to understand them because we BOTH have the Holy Spirit and therefore are united in Christ as children of God.
Therefore “know this, my beloved brothers [and sisters]: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:19-20, emphasis mine).
By the way, I mess up too. And when, by God’s grace, it is brought to my attention. It is in my “best interest” that I confess it to God, and to the other individual. Otherwise, it grieves God and His Spirit in me. And that leaves consequences which give an opportunity to the Devil to get a “foothold in my life” as the Word says. So, forgive and make your forgiveness known. Lastly, since we are all in a process of sanctification [becoming more like Jesus], let us extend grace and mercy to one another.